Meet Our Team

In Country Directors

Alvaro Carias

El Salvador Director

Education: In 1991 Alvaro graduated from the National University of El Salvador (UES) with a degree in English Language

Summary of Experience: Alvaro was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador. During the civil war, he worked with refugees in the outskirts of his city, helping them build their houses and developing literacy programs for children and adults.

After earning his degree in English, Alvaro joined the Center for Exchange and Solidarity (CIS) in El Salvador where he taught Spanish to US, Canadian, and English students for twelve years using Popular Education techniques with a participatory method.

In addition to teaching Spanish, Alvaro has led groups from the US and Canada, facilitating cross-cultural experiences for those interested in developing an understanding of the social, cultural, political, and economic realities of El Salvador. His work has helped participants from the First World explore Third World culture and issues. He has accompanied and translated for doctors, dentists, nurses and volunteers from the US who come to provide free medical and dental consultation to small rural villages.

From 2005-2008 he worked as the In-country Director of a North American non-governmental organization (NGO), overseeing school building, and scholarship programs in rural communities of El Salvador. He is a passionate advocate for human rights, social justice and environmental protection.

Guillermo Fernando Sensente

ESNA Project Director

Education: Guillermo graduated from Law School in 2013, from University of Sonsonate, El Salvador. Has received tourism courses by Ministry of Tourisms and is bilingual in English and Spanish. Currently learning to speak Nahuat, a mayan descendant language.

Summary of Experience: Born and raised in Sonsonate City, El Salvador, Guillermo traveled with his family to Santa Cruz, California, where he lived for 10 years. After quickly learning english and standing out in soccer, he graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 2003. Not been able to attend his dream School - Santa Clara University - Guillermo followed his family as they returned back to El Salvador in 2005. Guillermo’s family quickly got involved in various community projects and his father, Guillermo Sr. was elected Mayor for his home town, Santo Domingo de Guzman. Guillermo has been doing non-profit work since 2010 and is also part of another successful non-profit by the name of Tools for Opportunity - provides training, support and tools to low income woodworkers. Guillermo shows great dedication and passion for his people and is a valuable asset at ESNA Village Network.

Diego Acosta

Director

Education: Diego graduated from the National University of El Salvador (UES) in 2015 as an English Teacher.

Summary of Experience: Diego was born in 1992 in Santa Ana, El Salvador. Diego is a key member of ESNA and is primarily responsible for capturing all the wonderful pictures and videos and posting them on our social media. In addition to video and picture taking skills as well as that of an English teacher, Diego is an exceptional swimmer. In fact, he is a member of El Salvador’s National Water Polo team!

United States Directors

Bill Fischer

Director of Communications

Education: Bill is a 1972 graduate of Northern Illinois University where he received a BS degree with a major in Business.

Summary of Experience: Bill Fischer retired from Xerox Corporation in 2006 after 35 years with the company. While at Xerox he held many sales and management positions within the organization. He managed sales, technical and administrative resources during his tenure and carried responsibility for operational revenue and budgets. He has been an active participant in the development of the relationship between Heartland Presbyterian Church and sister communities in El Salvador since inception in 1996. Upon his retirement from Xerox in 2006 Bill lived in El Salvador for eight months, coordinating projects, managing cross-cultural experiences, and developing relationships in-country with both government and non-governmental agencies.

Eddie Ellis

ESNA VP of Strategy

Education: Eddie received his MA from the Harvard Executive Management Program in 2004.

Summary of Experience: With 12 years experience, Eddie is an accomplished operational leader, developer of strategy and execution frameworks, process improvement consultant, and program and project manager. Eddie has experience in insurance and financial services, manufacturing and distribution, government, non-profit, and marketing industries.

Previously, Eddie has led a program effort for a Fortune 100 company where he was responsible for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of a 1000 person, $1B+ business unit. This project delivered a program portfolio of 68 projects (78M budget), scorecards and metrics dashboards, communication plans, 3-5 year road maps for each operating units and new financial systems and processes, streamlined reporting, cost containment and improved decision making quality and velocity.

He was also responsible for a leading a large customer-focused shared services project for a fortune 100 financial services company. His primary responsibilities were creating strategies, developing plans, creating cross-functional alignment and communication plans, recruiting and managing teams, new product development, organizing departments and projects to meet objectives, building measures to demonstrate performance, building external vendor relationships, building and expanding customer relationships. Eddie has four years of experience leading an international non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of those in extreme poverty.

Board Members

Larry Hartsook

Chief Financial Officer

Education: Larry is a 1967 graduate of Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa where he received a BS degree with majors in Accounting and Marketing.

Summary of Experience: Larry Hartsook retired from Meredith Corporation, a Des Moines, Iowa based publishing and broadcasting company, in 1998 after 29 years of service. While at Meredith he held various financial positions, serving as Corporate Controller from 1981 to 1991 and the Vice President of Finance-Chief Financial Officer from 1991 to 1998. Prior to Meredith, he was an accountant and auditor for Gulf Oil Corporation.

Scott Valentine

Director of Cultural Relationships

Education: Scott served his country as a United States Marine and received his honorable discharge in 1992.

Summary of Experience: Scott Valentine is currently serving as a youth minister for Heartland Presbyterian Church in Clive, Iowa. He has completed a pastoral studies program and is a certified lay pastor. Scott is currently self-employed as a builder/contractor in the greater Des Moines area, and previously owned and operated a jewelry design, wholesale and repair business. Scott was a founding director for a not-for-profit in the greater Des Moines area with a focus on prison ministries. Scott has been actively involved in mission in El Salvador for 7 years. He has been the leader of delegations from Heartland to El Salvador for the last 5 years, working directly with the people of El Salvador and educating the people of the US. Scott also founded the International Mission Committee at Heartland Presbyterian Church that has built strong relationships with a number of cantons in El Salvador.